With a welcome respite from the hot, humid weather, I paid a visit Justin at Pine Hill Kennel & Sportsman’s Club to visit my Weim Stuka and evaluate the results of his work over the past two weeks. I was pleased that Stuka is further along than either Justin or I had anticipated. Considering this progress, we have decided to sustain his momentum and keep him at Pine Hill for another week. These are some of the advances Stuka has made in his training:
- One of the most noticeable improvements has been his responsiveness to quartering and “come-when-called” whistle commands. On most single whistles, he changed direction quickly, and on drawn-out whistles he returned to our side.
- Stuka’s progress in steadiness on point and wing was impressive. An important aspect of this training has been the use of single and multiple birds via remote launchers. Varying the volume of birds released helps strengthen his steadiness in real-world conditions where he may likely encounter multi-bird flushes. It was satisfying to see this development, which was in part due to the whoa-work we’ve been doing in the backyard.
- He is now fully acclimated to gunfire. As a result, the next week will include birds being shot overhead in order to start connecting the concept of steadiness to the reward of retrieving downed birds.
- Speaking of retrieving, his skills in this area have been very good. This does not come as a surprise, since he has typically enjoyed the process of retrieving bumpers.
- When he was a puppy his bird interest was moderate; he wasn’t quite sure to make of all the fuss about birds. But the consistent bird exposure over the past two weeks has sparked a keen interest in seeking them out, and it was exciting to see him working scent.
Throughout the summer months we will continue working the fundamentals in order to reinforce good habits and behaviors. Since bird dogs may disrupt spring nesting of wild birds we’ll resume working the fields after mid-July. We’ll also spend some time running the nearby woods in preparation for grouse and woodcock season, an altogether different style of hunting compared to open fields. To round out their training, in early September both Elsa and Stuka may visit Pine Hill for a pre-season tune-up. During which time we’ll meet up with Justin and head to the northern Michigan forests for some “off-site” training.The following images were taken seconds apart and shows Stuka settling in on a point:
Pine Hill’s training grounds…you just have to love a training facility whose barn rooftop has an image of a pointer made of shingles: